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The Western

WPSA POLICIES FOR AWARDS, GIFTS, AND ENDOWMENTS

Approved by Council April 17, 2014. Revised: September 3, 2015; March 24, 2016; and April 13, 2017.


I. CREATING AND NAMING WPSA AWARDS

A. Creation of New WPSA Awards

   The WPSA Executive Council will assess future award proposals based on the following criteria:

      1. The eligibility for the award must encompass a broad enough segment of interest to insure a significant number of competitors for the award and candidates for the award committee.

      2. The award must be consistent with the bylaws, policies, and values of the WPSA.

      3. The proposed award must be supported with sufficient initial funding to ensure that it can eventually be conferred without drawing from the Association’s Operating Fund. The Council may use the Association’s Operating Fund to help support the initial creation of a new award (see Section I.B. below). However, the Council expects that within a few years the new award will be paid for entirely through a donor fund or an endowment.

      4. If a proposed award does not include a direct monetary prize, it is not required to meet the funding requirements stipulated in the Awards, Gifts, and Endowment policies (Section I: Creating and Naming WPSA Awards). However, the members proposing non-monetary awards must provide alternative evidence that there is meaningful support for the award across the association for it to be considered by the Council. A petition signed by 7 percent of the Members of the Association whose memberships are in good standing shall constitute sufficient evidence of membership support. Even if a petition is submitted that surpasses this signature threshold, the Council retains the right to reject proposed new awards.

      5. A proposal to establish a new award must include the following information for the proposal to be considered by the Executive Council:

         • A statement of the award name, purpose of award, and criteria.
         • The names and contact information for the award proposers.
         • A description of the process for obtaining nominations.
         • A description of the selection process including criteria for selection.
         • A statement concerning the frequency of the award.
         • A statement describing how the chair and members of the selection committee will be chosen. WPSA policy generally gives the WPSA President the power to appoint all the members of WPSA committees. To provide guidance to the President in making appointments, the proposal must include a process for nominating a sufficient number of committee members to fill all the committee positions each year. If the selection process provides for someone other than the WPSA President to appoint these individuals, the proposal should include a justification for the different method.
         • A statement describing the form of the award (i.e., certificate, plaque, honorarium, monetary prize, etc.).
         • If the award incurs any cost on the association, the proposal should include a plan for how these costs will be funded. If the proposal includes a cash prize, the plan must include details for creating a viable endowment to fund the award.
         • If the award includes a non-monetary prize, whether in addition to or instead of a monetary prize, the proposal must include a justification for this prize. If the award does not include a monetary prize, then it must include the petition specified in Section I.A.4.
         •If the award includes a certificate, plaque, or any other similar acknowledgement, or in any other way requires action in administering the award, the proposal shall include a statement indicating the person(s) who will be responsible for that action.

B. Funding of Awards

      1. The Association will continue to underwrite the cost for the six awards it is currently funding: Dissertation Award, Betty Nesvold Women and Politics Award, WPSA Best Paper Award on Latina/Latino Politics, Award by Committee on the Status of Blacks, Environment Political Theory Award, and the WPSA Best Paper Award on Asian Pacific Americans and Politics (the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Political Research Quarterly Best Article Award, and the Charles Redd Center Award for the best paper on the politics of the American West are not funded by the WPSA). However, the Association will begin taking contributions for these awards in order for them to eventually become funded without drawing on the Association’s Operating Fund.

      2. A new award will not begin to be awarded until its endowment is at least 25 times the size of the proposed prize. The Association’s current minimum for an annual award amount is $250. For an award to be conferred at that amount, it means that the endowment must reach $6,250.

      3. The Executive Council will match the first $2,500 contributed to an endowed account created to fund a new award. The Council retains the right to provide addition support as it deems appropriate, though such support must be done in a consistent and fair manner.

      4. The annual draw from a donor fund or endowment shall be up to 4% of the fund’s total market value. However, the principal of a donor fund or endowment shall not be invaded unless the original instructions for the fund or endowment, as approved by the Executive Council, expressly provide for invasion.

      5. If the annual distribution from an Award Fund would result in an invasion of the principal, the distribution shall be reduced so as not to use principal. As a result, the proposed size of the reward may be reduced. However, the Executive Council may draw from its Operating Fund to cover the additional costs needed to fully fund the award.

      6. Every five years, the Investment Policy Committee shall review the amounts being conferred for each endowed award to ensure that the award prizes do not exceed the amount needed to maintain the general health of the fund.

C. Naming of Awards

      1. Association awards may be named after individuals, specific fields or sub-fields within the discipline, or in other manners that the Executive Council deems appropriate.

      2. The naming of awards after individuals is meant to honor those who have made an important contribution to the discipline and who have had strong ties with the Western Political Science Association. These ties may include long-time participation and/or exemplary service in the Association. Individuals can also be honored who in some other way has served to inspire Association members. The names of living individuals may be attached to an award.

      3. If an individual’s name is proposed for an existing award, then the Executive Council will try to treat these proposals in a manner comparable to that used in the creation of new awards as laid out in sections I.A. and I.B. In other words, the Council expects the following guidelines to apply:

            a. These awards should eventually be funded entirely through a donor fund or an endowment;

            b. In general, the new award name should not begin to be used until its endowment is at least 25 times the size of the proposed prize;

            c. The Executive Council will match the first $2500 contributed to an endowed account created in conjunction with the renaming of an ongoing award;

            d. The annual draw from a donor fund or endowment shall be up to 4% of the fund’s total market value.

            e. If the annual distribution from an Award Fund would result in an invasion of the original contributed principal, the distribution shall be reduced so as not to use principal. As a result, the proposed size of the reward may be reduced. However, the Executive Council may draw from its Operating Fund to cover the additional costs needed to fully fund the award.

D. Revising and Discontinuing Awards

      1) The Executive Council retains the right to revise the criteria used in the selection of award winners and to discontinue granting an annual award, with the exception of endowed awards in which there are explicit restrictions limiting the Council’s actions.

      2) From time to time, the Executive Council may approve the creation of a five-member Ad Hoc Awards Review Committee to review the status of WPSA Awards to ensure that the awards encompass a broad enough segment of interest to insure a significant number of competitors for each award and candidates for the award committee. If the Executive Council approves such a review committee, the WPSA President will be responsible for appointing the committee members and the committee chair. In determining whether a change in the criteria of an award is warranted, or whether an award should be discontinued entirely, the Committee shall consider trends in the research interests within the Association and changes in participation within Sections. As part of this review, the Committee should review the number of panels and papers presented at the Annual Meeting in the Award area, and confer with recent Award Committee Chairs. At the conclusion of its review, the Ad Hoc Awards Review Committee shall forward a recommendation to the Executive Council for its consideration.

      3) If the Ad Hoc Awards Review Committee makes a recommendation to discontinue an award, supporters of the award may submit a petition to the Executive Council to provide evidence that there is meaningful support for retaining the award. A petition signed by 7 percent of the Members of the Association whose memberships are in good standing shall constitute sufficient evidence of membership support. Even if a petition is submitted that surpasses this signature threshold, the Council retains the right to discontinue an award.


II. WPSA GIFT POLICY

The Western Political Science Association welcomes gifts that further the organization’s ability to pursue its mission to promote the study and teaching of government and politics, to foster research and to facilitate the discussion of public affairs. Within these parameters, the WPSA Executive Council reserves the right to reject any donation that is not consistent with its mission and values; the source of which could be viewed as not in the best interest of the organization; or which the organization is not adequately equipped to manage or dispose of. To that end, the Council has created the following guidelines, which may be changed from time to time.

A. Authority of Executive Council

      1. Acceptance of Gifts. The Executive Council has ultimate authority over the acceptance of all gifts. When a gift has been offered to the Association, the WPSA President or the Executive Director shall submit the gift proposal to the Investment Policy Committee and to the Executive Council for review. If necessary, the Executive Director may seek the advice of legal counsel in consideration of proposed gifts. If the gift is consistent with the policies established in this document, and does not include any new donor restrictions, then the Executive Director can accept the donation without having to seek prior approval of the Executive Council, though the Council may later review and overrule the Executive Director’s decision. The Executive Director will annually provide the Investment Committee and the Executive Council with a complete list of all gifts unilaterally accepted by the Executive Director. When a gift worth over $1,000 has been accepted, the Executive Director will immediately inform the Investment Committee and the Executive Council.

B. Types of Gifts and Donations

      1. Estate and Planned Gift Policy. Estate and planned gifts provide an opportunity for individuals to provide for the future of the association and its members, whether they are donated to Named Funds, a new donor-designated fund, or to the Association generally. The Council has established a policy to set aside for investment into the WPSA Endowment Fund all unrestricted bequests and/or other estate gift income received. Such funds shall become part of the unrestricted uses endowment, which will be used to provide long-term financial security of the organization and to fund special projects as determined by the Executive Council. When specifying the purpose of restricted bequests, donors are encouraged to use language that is as general as possible because specific needs and program names can change over time.

      2. Named Funds. A donor, or group of donors, may name a fund and restrict the use of income from that fund. Funds may be named for ongoing awards that are currently not named, the creation of new awards, or for other projects that receive the approval of the Executive Council. Named Funds require a minimum contribution as spelled out in sections I.B. and III.B. of this document. Such funds shall be subject to the overall endowment reaching the spending threshold as described in those two sections.

      3. Donor Restrictions. All donor restrictions are subject to the approval of the Executive Council. Any donor restriction related to a specific program or award should include regularly scheduled program evaluation, terms for conversion and/or alternative spending directions should program conditions change.

      4. Acceptable Donations. The Association accepts the donation of cash, marketable securities (stocks and bonds) and life insurance. It is the policy of the WPSA to sell all donated marketable securities upon receipt and to deposit the proceeds in the appropriate Fund. An exception can be made where a donor has specifically restricted the sale of such contribution, if such restriction has been approved by the Executive Council and noted on the donor receipt documents. Additionally, an exception to the immediate sale policy can be made if the Executive Director, with advice from the Investment Policy Committee, determines that market or environmental factors warrant such exception. The acceptance of donations of fine art, jewelry, antiques, fine furniture and other collectibles is generally inconsistent with the operation and mission of the Association and is discouraged. The acceptance of such donations will be at the sole discretion of the Executive Council. If the estimated value of the donation is below $1,000, the Executive Council delegates this authority to the WPSA Executive Director, who shall consult with the WPSA Investment Policy Committee before making a determination as to whether to accept the donation.

      5. Real Estate. All gifts of real estate are subject to the approval of the Executive Council, require a minimum sixty (60) day due diligence period and will be subject to the appropriate level of environmental testing. Any environmental testing that must be completed shall be paid for by the donor, or in the event the donor cannot pay for such testing, shall be deducted from the gift itself, if accepted.

      6. Gifts toward Operating Expenses. The WPSA accepts both cash and in-kind gifts to help underwrite the cost of Operating Expenses, including for events and other expenditures associated with the association’s annual meeting. These gifts can be targeted to provide general support for the association or the conference, or to fund specific events and activities.

C. Gift Acknowledgement

      1. All donations must be acknowledged by the Association both as a means to thank the donor and to provide relevant tax information. The acknowledgements should be sent promptly after the receipt of the donation.

      2. The Executive Director will acknowledge gifts through a personal message to the donors thanking them for their contribution to the Association.

      3. In addition to the personal message from the Executive Director, a formal letter will be sent to individuals who donate more than $75 as the form of a receipt. This letter will include the following information:

            a. A statement that the WPSA is a charity recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3);

            b. Either a statement of the amount donated (if cash or cash equivalents) or a description of the property donated. However, the WPSA will not attempt to assign a cash value to donated property; that is the donor's responsibility;

            c. The date the donation was received;

            d. A statement as to whether the WPSA provided any goods or services in return for the donation. In this statement, the Association will provide an estimate of the value of the goods/services. If no goods or services were provided, the acknowledgement will included the statement that, "No goods or services were received in return for this gift."

      4. Donation will also be acknowledged on the WPSA web site and in other documents, which may include the WPSA newsletter. The Executive Council may also establish other forms of donor recognition, including the use of honorific categorizations to recognize individuals who have contributed at different donation levels.

D. Other Gift Policies

      1. WPSA will accept unrestricted and restricted gifts. However, the Association particularly encourages unrestricted gifts because of the benefits that unrestricted funds provide in meeting changing needs and economic conditions. Groups or individuals that want to establish a Named Fund are encouraged to include language that enables the Executive Council to draw funds from the principal amount if the Association faces a financial emergency, or if the conditions for creating the award have changed.

      2. Gift language accompanying bequests must stipulate the entire bequest can be used to calculate the award amount. This level is intended to ensure sufficient time to withstand an economic downturn in the short term.

      3. All requests by donors to remain anonymous shall be honored.

      4. It is the responsibility of the donor, with advice from his or her professional advisors, to substantiate any tax deductions and to comply with IRS regulations and policies.


III. ENDOWMENT SPENDING POLICY

A. Types of Funds

      1. Unrestricted Funds. All funds donated to the Association shall reside in the WPSA Endowment Fund, unless they are explicitly donated to a specific fund or to help in underwriting the Association’s Operating Fund, including to help pay for expenses associated with the Association’s annual meeting. Additionally, the Council may designate certain funds and contributions for placement in the WPSA Endowment Fund. The use of the funds in the WPSA Endowment Fund is unrestricted, which means they may be used for any purpose deemed appropriate for the organization. Since the WPSA Endowment Fund is not a true Endowment, the Executive Council may access both its principal and interest. However, the purpose of the WPSA Endowment Fund is to protect the long-term financial position of the Association and to provide funding for special projects, so the Executive Council should only access the principal under extraordinary circumstances and for those specific purposes.

      2. Restricted Funds (Endowments). Restricted Funds include permanent and temporarily restricted funds. These funds prescribe the purposes for which the fund may be used and the durability of the purpose, and are considered True Endowments. Permanently restricted funds must be conveyed with a gift instrument that lays out the donor’s precise purpose for the fund and the intended life of the endowment. The Executive Council may also create restricted endowments including Named Funds (see Section II.B. above). The principal of a permanently restricted endowment is preserved in whole; income from the principal is considered to be restricted by the donor designated purpose.

      3. Temporarily Restricted Funds (Term Endowments). Temporary Restricted Funds are expected to operate off the income generated by the principal of the fund for the general purposes designated in the gift instrument for a specified period of time. Once the period specified in the gift instrument has passed, the Executive Council may repurpose or rename the principal and income of a fund, or liquidate the fund’s principal, though it should attempt as much as is feasible to use the funds for purposes related to the originally designated purpose.

B. Distribution of Restricted Funds

      1. The annual draw from a Restricted Endowment Fund shall be up to 4% of the fund’s total market value. However, the principal of a Restricted Endowment Fund shall not be invaded unless the original instructions for the fund, as approved by the Executive Council, expressly provide for invasion.

      2. Unless permitted by the donor in the gift instrument, an annual distribution from a Restricted Endowment Fund in an amount exceeding seven (7) percent of the fair market value of the fund, will create a rebuttable presumption that such distribution was imprudent.

      3. Income from a Restricted Endowed Fund will not become available for spending until the first day of the calendar year after the principal of the Endowment reaches at least 25 times the size of the proposed annual distribution. However, exceptions to this policy in regards to Award Funds are specified in Section I above.

      4. If the annual distribution would result in an invasion of the principal, the distribution shall be reduced so as not to use principal. Alternatively, the Executive Council may draw from its Operating Fund to cover costs that are intended to be covered by the Endowment.

      5. The principal balance of permanently donor restricted funds cannot be used (invaded) unless such invasion is outlined in the donor’s conveyance documents or is approved by the donor.

C. Administrative Fees

      1. The Association may charge each Endowment Fund a reasonable administrative fee in addition to any direct expenses.


IV. ACCOUNTING, RECORDKEEPING, AND REPORTING

A. Separate Accounting

      1. A separate accounting of each Endowment will be maintained, but monies will not necessarily be held in separate financial accounts. The funds from the WPSA Endowment Fund, Named Funds, and other Endowments and Quasi-Endowments may be invested as a pool, though they will be segregated for accounting purposes.

B. Recording Policy

      1. When the Association receives a donation, the contribution shall be recorded by the WPSA Officer responsible for maintaining the Association’s accounting records. For all donations, the following information shall be retained in a centralized spreadsheet or some other appropriate electronic database:

            a. Donor contact information (salutation, name, affiliation, address, telephone number, email address)

            b. Type of donation received and value of donation; if a direct monetary donation, the records should include whether contribution was by credit card, check (include check number), or cash

            c. The value of any goods or services received in return for gift

            d. Date donation received

            e. Source of the gift (i.e., membership form, conference registration form, direct-mail appeal, special event, unsolicited)

            f. If indicated, donor’s intended use for donation (i.e., whether for a specific fund or project) and any other restrictions on the contribution

            g. Any requests or restrictions on acknowledgements (including stipulations for anonymity)

            h. Date formal letter acknowledging donation is mailed

C. Record Retention

      1. Donation records of endowment funds and of significant restricted funds must be permanently retained. Other donation records must be retained for at least 10 years. These donation records must include any written agreement between the donor and the Association with regard to any contribution, and any email communication or notes of or recordings of an oral discussion between the Association and the donor where the representative of the Association made representations to the donor with regard to the contribution on which the donor may have relied in making the gift.

D. Reporting

      1. Endowments. The Treasurer, in consultation with the Associate Director, will include a status report on the Association’s investments and Endowments as part of the Treasurer’s regular report on WPSA finances, which is presented to the WPSA Executive Council.

      2. Gifts. The Treasurer, in consultation with the Associate Director, will prepare a report on donations to be presented annually at the WPSA Executive Council meeting.